Rome (Agenzia Fides) - " 'Do not be afraid' is the invitation that appears on every theophany and is the phrase that the Risen Jesus repeats every time he shows himself to his disciples. An invitation that helps to deal with dark, difficult moments, persecution, knowing that the Lord is always close to each of us ... And having to imagine the life of a martyr in the moments before his martyrdom, we like to believe that this phrase is the one that they hear more often from Jesus who accompanies them to the utmost of their testimony".
This is what Alez Zappalà writes, illustrating the theme of the XXV Day of Prayer and Fasting in Memory of Missionary Martyrs, "Do not be afraid". Every year since 1993 the Day of Prayer and Fasting in Memory of Missionary Martyrs is celebrated on 24 March, thanks to the initiative of the Youth Missionary Movement of the Italian Pontifical Mission Societies. On March 24, 1980 Mgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador was assassinated, he was beatified on May 23, 2015. The Day is now celebrated in different Countries around the world, promoted by dioceses, religious institutions and missionary realities.
Recalling that the centenary of the martyrdom of Blessed Charles de Foucald, don Michele Autuoro, director of Missio was on 1 December 2016, he underlines that "the sacrifice of the life of our brothers and sisters to martyrdom is simply the extreme consequence of those who did not choose honor but total commitment, not comfort and safety but giving the fullness of Jesus' life. Not heroes, but men and women whose lives were delivered to the Gospel and that, like Jesus, they repeat 'Do not be afraid ...' we are still useless servants".
The material aid prepared for the animation of the Day proposes a gesture of spiritual and material solidarity towards Syria, tormented by years of war, thus responding to Mgr. Marayati’s appeal, at the head of the archieparchy of Aleppo for the reconstruction of the Cathedral and the Al Imane diocesan school. The text for a Via Crucis inspired by the encyclical Laudato Sì was also prepared and for a prayer Vigil in memory of the missionary martyrs. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 22/03/2017)